How Does An Attorney’s Fee Award Work?
There are a few statutes that can come into play with respect to an award of attorney’s fees incurred in Georgia collection cases. At Isenberg & Hewitt, PC, in Atlanta, we advocate for our clients to be awarded attorney’s fees and expenses of litigation. There is never a guaranty because it can be dependent on the court’s interpretation of the various laws and case laws.
Situations Where You May Recover Fees
Here is an overview of times when you may be able to recover lawyer’s fees:
- If you have a contract that says that if there is a default, then you are entitled to attorney’s fees and expenses of litigation incurred. You should be allowed to recover all attorney’s fees that the court finds are reasonable.
- If your contract uses the term reasonable, then Georgia law interprets that to mean 15 percent of the first $500 and 10 percent after that of the principal and interest.
- If your contract has a percentage of principal and interest, that should be applied without question. On small debts, percentages do not cover the costs incurred.
- If your debt is based on an account or oral contract with no mention of attorney’s fees, then you have to prove that there is no bona fide dispute and either the debtor has acted in bad faith or has caused unnecessary trouble and expense, or has been stubbornly litigious. Fees have to be proven and the court determines if they are reasonable based on the attorney’s experience and the normal hourly rate in the geographic area for such representation.
- If your attorney has your case on a contingency basis, many of the courts will not award fees except on proof of actual hours and a reasonable hourly rate based on the attorney’s experience and the normal hourly rate in the geographic area for such representation.
An Award Can Make Your Settlement Stretch
Attorney’s fees reduce your judgments. For this reason, we strive to help you recover fees whenever possible. Our firm’s principal attorney, Harriet Isenberg, has had leading cases on the issue of awards of attorney’s fees in collection cases. She continues to champion that cause in her representation of creditors in Georgia.